The second in command, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jacob “Jack” Falfas, resigned from his position on June 12. Cedar Fair filed a notification with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday confirming this.
Having worked for Cedar Fair for three decades, and appearing to many to be the heir and right hand man of Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel, this has come as a complete surprise to many. Former amusement park executive, now president of International Theme Park Services, Dennis Speigel said "the full story is yet to be told. I haven't talked to him personally, but it seems to have come at an odd time."
Falfas could not be reached for comment on his resignation, nor have any additional details been given out by Cedar Fair. Just a few days prior to his resignation, Cedar Fair appointed new members to its board of directors at the request of its largest shareholder, Q Investements. They were also the group that rallied shareholders against the deal being made with the Apollo Management Group—likely the reason they requested new board members.
Falfas started with Cedar Fair in the 1970s as an admissions manager, working his way up through the company over the next few decades. It was in 2005 that Falfas returned to Sandusky and was made COO of the company.
Cedar Fair has recently been working on plans to refinance its debt on its own through the issuing of “junk” bonds and taking out a loan and line of credit to make the company “more stable.”
Kinzel, at 68 years old, is expected to retire in 2012 after his employment contract ends. With his “second hand man” now gone, the fate of the company is up-in-the-air for now. Currently, there is no reliable information available or speculation as to who may be Kinzel's next successor, but keep an eye out, as details will be posted as they become available.